CHICAGO - The Chicago White Sox will join Jim and Andrea Thome in tornado relief efforts in Jim's native central Illinois. Jim, who now serves as the special assistant to the White Sox vice president/general manager Rick Hahn, along with Andrea and the Thome family, have personally committed $100,000 to help rebuild Washington, Ill.
The legendary slugger was born and raised in Peoria, Ill., and has immediate family members who live in the city of Washington. Thome visited the city and toured the devastation with Washington Mayor Gary Manier last week.
"I've never seen anything like it in my life. The devastation literally took my breath away," said Jim Thome. "I knew at that moment that Andrea and I would do whatever we could to help the people of Washington, so near to where I grew up, and home to my brother Randy and his family. We are so grateful that my former teams stepped up to join us in our efforts to help."
The White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies, four of Jim's former clubs, also will contribute financially to the Thome family donation.
The White Sox also announced the team will organize a youth and athletics focused event in Washington in the spring of 2014 in support of the Thome family efforts. Details of the event, which will involve the White Sox Volunteer Corps and the Chicago Bulls/Sox Academy, will be announced closer to the spring.
"When Jim and Adrea told the White Sox about their family's plans to help those affected by the destructive tornadoes that ravaged central Illinois, we immediately focused our efforts on helping make a difference in Washington," said White Sox senior director of community relations/executive director of Chicago White Sox Charities Christine O'Reilly. "We know few people with more compassion and bigger hearts than Jim and Andrea Thome, and we are honored to stand with them as members of the White Sox and baseball family."
In April 2004, a tornado destroyed more than 100 homes in Utica, Ill. Over the next two seasons, the White Sox and the Bull/Sox Academy assisted in outreach to that city's youth and athletic programs.